New education secretary Nicky Morgan on her Christian faith

Nicky Morgan arrives at Downing Street, following her promotion to Education Secretary.Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Christian MP Nicky Morgan has been promoted from financial secretary to the Treasury to secretary of state for education in this morning's cabinet reshuffle.

She replaces Michael Gove, who had been widely criticised while in office for his controversial changes to the education system.

The 41-year-old Oxford law graduate is a trustee of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and voted against the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill. In 2010 she wrote a piece for Christian Today in which she defended the increased cap on university tuition fees.

In an interview for Christians in Parliament she said she became more serious about her Christian faith while attending a church in her Loughborough constituency.

She said: "I've always been a Christian, but I suppose I particularly renewed my faith about ten years ago, shortly after being selected in Loughborough.

"The Church there was so active, that it made me realise just how much the churches contribute to community life, and that was something that I appreciated. So that was the moment for me to not just be a quiet Christian, but to step up and to say publicly that I was a Christian involved in politics," she added.

Encouraged by father, who was a Conservative councillor in Surrey, Morgan joined the Conservative Party in 1989, when she was 16. In the Christians in Parliament interview she said that she saw Margaret Thatcher as a role model. 

Mrs Morgan worked as a solicitor specialising in corporate law before working getting into Parliament.

She stood for office for the first time in 2001 in Islington South and Finsbury, but was select for the Loughborough constituency in 2004, eventually winning the seat in 2010.

She is said to be a particular favourite with Chancellor George Osborne.

Speaking of the difference that her faith makes to her work, she said: "Most people go into politics to make things better, and as a Christian you have a real, biblical framework to do that work."

She added: "For me, it gives me a confidence that there is a plan, and I'm just a part of that."

Mrs Morgan, who will continue in her role as minster for women, was one of several women who were tipped to move up the ranks in David Cameron's biggest reshuffle since the 2010 election.

Mrs Morgan revealed in an interview with the Times after her last promotion that she had asked to balance out the the male-dominated paintings displayed in her new office.

"All they had was Queen Mary and a headless woman covered in blood," she said. "So I chose Queen Mary."

Yesterday she tweeted in favour of women bishops.

MP for South West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss, 38, has also been given a cabinet portfolio, as secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs.

The former Education Secretary, Michael Gove has moved to become chief whip.